Collection Preface

Common Book Collection Preface

All of the published Poggioreale family history books contain some version of the following preface:

This book is part of a series of books documenting families from the Sicilian village of Poggioreale, as well as, a few families from some of the surrounding villages, such as Salaparuta, Gibellina, and Corleone, that married the families from Poggioreale.

Poggioreale is a small village some 40 miles southwest of Palermo in a region known as the Belice Valley, which is within the province of Trapani. In the late medieval period the area belonged to the Barony of Favarella that controlled by the noble Morso family on behalf of the Sicilian King since 1524. On 16 May 1643 Gaspare of Morso was named the Prince of Poggioreale and later in 1650 Peter of Morso was named the Prince of Poggioreale, among other noble titles. Decades later a small village was constructed that at its peak was home to almost 3000 people.

In 1968 a severe earthquake struck the Belice Valley and destroyed the village Gibellina, and severely damaged many surrounding villages, including Poggioreale. Although only 30% of the buildings were destroyed, the town fathers decided it was unsafe to continue living there. So, the entire town lived in temporary barracks in a field until a new village could be constructed some seven years later. During this time many residents sent to live in Sydney, Australia where there was an existing Poggioreale community.

Today, the old town or Poggioreale Vecchia is tourist attraction and the new Poggioreale is about half a mile downhill.

Beginning in 1880 many families left the village for the New World. Families settled in Houston, Texas; Bryan, Texas; Shreveport, Louisiana; New Orleans, Louisiana; Metiare, Louisiana; New York City and New Jersey region; St. Louis, Missouri. Later some families found their way to Sydney, Australia and Ontario, Canada.

I have been researching these families since the mid-1990s long before the introduction of Ancestry.com. In the summer of 2018, I had the opportunity to spend time in the village of Poggioreale with the objective to gather as much historical information as possible. To my good fortune, I stumbled across a pile short publications by Mr. Robert Lowry of Houston, who had mapped out the backgrounds of many of the larger Poggioreale families. This a useful reference for documenting some of the more distant relationships between Poggioreale families.

I have chosen to copyright this book series under the Creative Commons Attribution 0.0 Public Domain License to make clear my perspective that I do not “own” the genealogical information of our community.

Several notes on genealogical methodology, a reader should assume that any date, such as birth or death, that does not have source or citation should be considered informed estimates, and secondly both US and EU privacy laws have encouraged genealogy companies to limit access to presumably living person. If you see persons born after 1940 in the book, it was most likely either informed by an available obituary or family member.

Support open genealogy research. Funds from the sale of these books go to fund ongoing research in our community. Promote the book to you relatives.

As a matter of practice I donate copies of all of my books to major genealogical libraries, including the Texas State Library, the Clayton Library in Houston, and the Bryan Public Library, as well as, copies of all books are donated to the Comune of Poggioreale in Sicily.

Finally, none of these genealogies are complete. They are summaries of the best available information and all genealogies are on-going works in progress.

If there are additional families or descendants that should be included in future, contact me by email ([email protected]) with the details.